Welcome to Nerd Nite SF, 3rd Wednesdays at Rickshaw Stop!

Congratulations! You have happened upon our website, where you’ll find information on all our future and past events (going back to 2010!). We are Nerd Nite SF, a monthly lecture-in-a-bar series where people from all walks of life give presentations on everything from video game design to historic shipwrecks. We’ve hosted mimes, musicians and everyone in between, with the goal of being entertaining, silly, and most of all, educational. Come learn a new fact, make a new friend, or try a new drink! Rickshaw Stop creates a special drink based on the month’s presentations!

Nerd Nite SF #133: Kinky Critters, Sexy Video Games, & Nerdy Law!

Nerd Nite, but sexy!

We are bringing you another Nerd Nite SF special (sexy) edition in June. Thanks to Manny’s for squeezing us into their amazing lineup of community events. We hope to see you on Tuesday, June 20 for some adventurous presentations on the sex lives of animals, sex and representation in video games, and some climactic nerdy law scenarios!

Tuesday June 20, 2023
(yes, a special Tuesday edition!)
6pm doors, 7-9pm show
Manny’s (3092 16th St)
$10 online (+fees)
Tickets here!

Kinky Critters: The Wild, Bizarre and Sordid sex lives of animals by Guido Nuñez- Mujica

Over the span of 3.7 billion years, life has adapted to many situations, and that has changed the way animals reproduce. Traditional expectations of male-female couplings solely for reproduction are very far from reality for many species, as are expectations of the roles of females and males. Life is far more twisted than we can imagine. A species of clonal lesbians? Check! Golden showers? Check! Blowhole sex? Check! Even Vore?! Check. From lesbian clone lizards to self-sucking squirrels and pegging insects, come and explore the real wild side!

Guido (he/him) is computational biologist and data scientist currently working at The Breakthrough Institute. He’s a TED Fellow, a Cornell Alliance for Science Fellow and does volunteer work about immigration and human rights, LGBT issues. On his spare time you might find him doing science communication, at a South of Market Leather bar, coding for fun, working on his documentary project, learning Hindi or making his urine glow under UV light. You can follow along on Twitter @OSGuido.

Sexuality and Game Design: Undressing the past present and future of sex and representation in the video game industry by Mark Shteller

Over the last decade, video games have become the #1 most profitable form of entertainment, yet in many ways the industry is still going through its teenage years. There’s no other subject this fact is more apparent in than in sexuality. How did we get from questionable pixelated sex acts in Atari games to full blown simulated intercourse in VR? What moral panic resulted from gamifying romance and relationships? Why do developers hide queer content behind the #GayButton? In addition we’ll ride down Rainbow Road and discuss where the game industry is today regarding LGBTQ+ representation.

Mark Shteller is the Creative Director of Neon Death Drop, the first action game to feature an openly gay male lead. Mark has been part of the game industry for the past 10 years as a developer, but always wanted to see his queer self represented in games. This year, with the help of his queer game dev friends, he founded Diamond Dust Games – a game studio with a mission to bring fierce gay sass to mainstream gaming audiences.

Another adventure in nerd law with Josh Gilliland of the The Legal Geeks!

More talk details coming soon, but we promise all the same nerdy goodness and comradery, this time in Manny’s beautiful gathering space!

NNSF #132 Urine, Minerals, & a Botanical + Legal History of Abortion!

Thursday May 18, 2023
(yes, a special Thursday edition!)
7pm doors, 8pm show
Rickshaw Stop (155 Fell @ Van Ness)
$10 online (+fees) / $12 door
Tickets here!

Have you ever thought to yourself: I wish I could think and drink on a Thursday night instead of a Wednesday night? WELL THEN do we have news for you! Join us for a special Thursday edition of Nerd Nite SF this month

Urine is not sterile: Taking advantage of a golden opportunity by Krystal Thomas-White, PhD
The human microbiome includes all the bacteria that live in and on you. These bugs live in our gut, on our skin, and yes, in your bladder. Even though doctors will tell you, “of course urine is sterile”, the latest research shows us that (just like every other body site) it’s alive with microorganisms. Krystal will tell you the story of this discovery, and what that means for your health.

Krystal has been studying the bladder and vaginal microbiomes in the context of women’s health for over 10 years. She is now the senior scientist at the women’s health start-up Evvy as well as a a dedicated science communicator and scientific advisor for Live UTI Free, a patient advocacy group. You can also find her @KrystalMicrobio.

Chandra’s Abortion: A history of female friendship, plants, and the law in 19th-century colonial India by Tara Kola
Abortion pills have been in the news recently, but long before abortion was a moral dilemma fought over by men in the Supreme Court, and even before then since the invention of the uterus, women have been experimenting with medicine from plants to make choices about their bodies. Hear about the long botanical and legal history of abortion through the short story of Chandra Chashani, a woman who had an abortion in 1849 in colonial India.

We Can’t Mine Metals Without Digging… Or Can We? by Dr. Seaver Wang
In the eyes of many environmentalists, mining is the original environmental sin of industrial-age humanity, far predating more modern concerns like climate change, depletion of the ozone layer, or plastic pollution. At the same time, it is no exaggeration to say that the metals that we mine from the earth have driven tremendous technological progress, vastly improved human well-being, and form the basis for our modern, advanced society today. But what if we could keep all of the societal benefits associated with producing important metals while dramatically reducing the environmental and social risks associated with traditional mining? Newer technologies, including some that are already in widespread use today, have opened the possibility of sourcing metals like lithium, copper, or rare earth elements from non-traditional sources like underground brine or waste materials, without even having to dig a pit or mine shaft. In this talk, Dr. Seaver Wang will explore a number of exciting innovations in metal extraction and recycling that could help support our raw material needs while reducing the environmental costs of the many technologies essential to modern society today.

Nerd Nite SF #131: LOUD, Green, and Leafy!

featuring cannabis, spectrograms, & reclaimed space!

Wednesday April 19, 2023
7pm doors, 8pm show
Rickshaw Stop (155 Fell @ Van Ness)
$10 online (+fees) / $12 door
Tickets here!

The unquiet history of Parcel 36 by Elizabeth Creely, with a performance by Chi
Listen to the unquiet history of Parcel 36, an abandoned railroad track in San Francisco’s Mission District, and an artefact from a time when squatters on unceded Ohlone land settled land disputes with guns, axes and bayonets. John Center and Samuel Crim, two of the largest landowners in the Mission and would-be railroad barons, left a legacy of strife and confusion that continues today. What do you do with a parcel no one owns? Give it back to the community. Friends of the Mission Greenway, together with our neighbours and supporters, are creating a pedestrian greenway and garden to restore the right-of-way to the public. Join us at Nerd Nite as we talk about 19th-century squatters, one ghost, and the future of Parcel 36, one of the last pieces of unowned land in the Mission District.

Elizabeth Creely is a writer, and public historian who lives in San Francisco’s Mission District. She has explored almost every type of environment California has to offer: urban, coastal, riverine, grassland, desert and montane. She works for the Consulate General of Ireland, is occasionally a contributing writer to Mission Local, a bilingual, local independent online news site that covers the Mission District of San Francisco and a member of the San Francisco Department of Memory.

Cannabis Toxicology: The Good, The Bad, and The Risky by Dr. Echo Rufer
(Legal) cannabis is more popular (and available) than ever, but how do you make decisions about healthy use? Is natural safer than synthetic? Does a super high THC concentration actually matter? What was the deal with the “Vapegate” crisis a few years back, and how can you avoid problems like it? FIND OUT from a real, actual cannabis toxicologist and impress your “buds” on 4/20!

Acoustic Detective Work: How to read spectrograms by Dr. Bryn Hauk
Sounds have a fingerprint, and you can learn to read them off a page. You probably know about soundwaves, which show amplitude over time. Add a third dimension – frequency – and you get a spectrogram. We will learn to read these dimensions to identify speech sounds!

Nerd Nite SF #130 Card Math & Sea Shanties! (& Rum!)

Bring your brain, lungs, and liver for this one!

Wednesday March 15, 2023
7pm, Rickshaw Stop
$10 online (+fees) / $12 door
Tickets here!

Mathematics and the Card Game SET with Dr. Catherine Hsu
Come play SET, a fun game of pattern recognition universally loved by mathematicians! Although this game was invented as part of a research project on epilepsy in German Shepherds, SET is closely related to many interesting areas in mathematics. Tonight, we’ll (briefly) introduce some of these math ideas and then explore some variations of the game, including Super Set, Pokemon set, and many more. Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of this card game… we’ll explain the rules of gameplay at the start!

Secrets of Sea Shanties with Preston Thomas
What *do* you do with a drunken sailor, anyway? If you know what to listen for, sea chanteys are a linguistic time capsule into life aboard ship at the end of the Age of Sail. Let’s crack a few open, see how they worked, and learn why big burly dangerous dudes were singing on the job. From the captain’s daughter to the dreaded ‘stuncil bones,’ we’ll explore how chanteys have survived down to the present day—or not—and how their hidden history is more inclusive than you might think.

See you for rum specials, singing with friends, and playing games! 

Nerd Nite SF #129 The Comeback: Love Never Dies! Lizards, Supernatural fandom, & a Valentine’s Contest!

Wednesday February 15, 2023
7pm, Rickshaw Stop
$10 online (+fees) / $12 door
Tickets here!

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to commemorate the union of Nerd Nite SF and the Rickshaw Stop once again! We really thought our October event would be our last at the Rickshaw, but thanks to the great turnout from nerds like you, dear reader, the venue is giving us another shot at this nerdy matrimony. No, the whole thing was not a ruse or a tease. You really did love us back from the dead! Join us on Wednesday, February 15, 2023 at 7pm to celebrate our resurrection and Valentine’s Day (or the end of Valentine’s Day, if you prefer that) with a card-making contest (yes there will be prizes!) and three talks spanning the love lives of lizards and the sexy subtext of Supernatural shipping fandom! Can you feel the nerdy love tonight?? We can!

*Prizes awarded for the punniest, nerdiest, and most anti-Valentine’s categories!


The Love Lives of Lizards with Chelsea Connor

Chelsea Connor (she/they) is tropical biodiversity biologist and herpetologist from the Commonwealth of Dominica. She studies tropical tree dwelling lizards, their ecology and histories! Although she didn’t end up being a comic book artist, Chelsea is still living the struggling creative life interpreting animals as art. You can follow her on Twitter to keep up with her nerdy endeavors, which include guest speaking on the Pokescience podcast!

I Will Go Down With This Ship: What Shipping in Fandom Can Tell Us About Sexuality and Gender in Popular Culture with Kaela Joseph

“You can’t spell subtext without S-E-X,” at least that’s what they say in the TV series, Supernatural. Psychologist and fandom researcher Kaela Joseph will discuss why media fans, specifically Supernatural fans, practice shipping (creating media or discourse that places characters or real people in relationships), and what this participatory practice within fandom can tell us about broader social and political themes about sex and gender in society. 

Kaela Joseph (they/she) is a queer, nonbinary psychologist and fandom researcher. They work in the San Francisco Bay Area as a clinic director, program manager, and clinical supervisor in settings which specialize in women’s and LGBTQ+ health. They are the co-author of the book Fandom Acts of Kindness: A Heroic Guide to Doing Chaotic Good, available through all major book sellers as of January 3rd of this year. 

Nerd Nite SF #128: Consciousness, Managing Your Manager, & a Spelling Bee!

Wednesday October 19, 2022
7pm, Rickshaw Stop
$10 online (+fees) / $12 door
Tickets here!

Join us at our last show at the Rickshaw Stop after 12 years of drinking and thinking there. Nerd Nite SF will enter its teen years at another venue next year. Let’s go out with a bang and a beer!

Also, back by popular vote at last month’s show: drunken spelling bee! Test your tolerance and spelling abilities to be crowned our second annual Spelling Champian (sic)! Drink tickets, your copy of This Is Ear Hustle, and a very special edition pin provided by our friends at the SF Public Library are all on the line! As usual, our esteemed local librarians will be on hand to fulfill your nerdy need for library swag & programming info as consolation in case you can’t spell. And of course, a great lineup of speakers putting their nerdy spin on their specialties:

Phenomenological Relationship Counseling
With Patrick House

Every good lecture, at the end of the day, is a self-help lecture. Dr. House will take us on a tour through the variety of conscious experiences we know about, speculate about some we don’t yet know about, and elaborate the kinds of conscious experiences we might look forward to in the sci-fi future. All while making the argument that many, if not most, of the inter- and intra-personal global arguments, at all scales—relationships, war—come down to basic perceptual differences underlying preference and imagination. Your brain is much more different than your neighbor’s or partner’s brain than modern science could possibly describe.

Patrick House is a neuroscientist and writer. His scientific research focused on the neuroscience of free will and how mind-control parasites alter their host’s behavior. He writes about science, technology and culture for The New Yorker and Slate and is the author of NINETEEN WAYS OF LOOKING AT CONSCIOUSNESS. He has a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Stanford University and lives in Los Angeles, California.

How to realistically manage your manager (or at least complain about them a little bit less)
With Jennifer Tschetter

People run around in fear of the “micro-managing manager”… but have we conflated micro-managing with just “managing?” Is it totally unfair that our managers want to have a line of sight into what we work on? Studies often show that people leave jobs because of poor managers, so why then do so many managers stink? Jennifer will shed some light on how your relationship with your manager goes two ways and you can take back some of the power to influence the relationship.

Jennifer (she/her) is a culture strategist and coach. Jennifer runs her own consulting firm where she coaches and trains teams. Managing people and fostering exceptional teams isn’t easy, so Jennifer gets brought in when managers may need some extra love and support. In her free time, she likes debating the accuracy of various science fiction and spending time with her dog, Neville Longbottom. You can learn more about her & her work here.

Hope to see your nerdy faces there! Let’s pour one out for Nerd Nite at the Rickshaw Stop!